77 books like The Peacock and the Sparrow

By I S Berry,

Here are 77 books that The Peacock and the Sparrow fans have personally recommended if you like The Peacock and the Sparrow. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Jill Wallace Author Of War Serenade

From my list on impossible odds and satisfying endings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My ultimate read is when the action is fast, but the character's discovery of self is slow. Besides, being engrossed in the challenges of others makes my own pale by comparison. The author needs to get me to empathize with the characters - even if their struggles are nothing like my own - and once they’ve done that, I’ll be in for the long haul! Journeying through life’s mire and finding the rainbow with a character you believe - and believe in - makes for the ultimate in vicarious living. And ‘Heck, YES’ to a satisfying ending!

Jill's book list on impossible odds and satisfying endings

Jill Wallace Why did Jill love this book?

This book, with its prose as poetry, made me want to read it again the minute I finished. To absorb Mr. Doerr’s majestic words was to be transformed into a little blind girl with the heart of a lion, the wit of a comic, the determination of a world leader. I became Marie-Laure LeBlanc and felt all the while sublimely grateful that I could see. And then I met Werner Flemming and wept for him. I understood him. I was deeply moved by him. 

I felt it was profoundly destined that these two should meet and fall in love, but my imagination carried me far into the future. I was surprised to find though I should have been disappointed, I was not. You see, this book made me realize that while many people touch our lives, some can change the course of our trajectory even by a single degree. And…

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…


Book cover of Slow Horses

Lee Goldberg Author Of Calico

From my list on humor that makes us human.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing crime stories since I was a child. They entertained me and helped me cope with a lot of family strife. My first novel was published in college and sold to the movies, which got me into screenwriting, leading to writing hundreds of hours of TV and fifty novels to date. The one thing all of my stories share is humor because I believe it’s an essential part of life–and of memorable story-telling. Humor makes characters come alive, revealing shades of personality and depths of emotion you wouldn’t otherwise see. Here are five books that taught me that it’s true and that continue to influence me as a writer. 

Lee's book list on humor that makes us human

Lee Goldberg Why did Lee love this book?

Spy novels, especially the British ones, are densely plotted, densely written, densely serious stories full of politics and betrayals…without a smile to be had by the characters or the reader. The only funny ones are satires. But this book is different.

I could enjoy all the pleasures of a spy novel, with all the betrayals and plot twists, and find myself laughing even as I was caught up in the suspense and surprises. If anything, the laughs made the twists more twisty and the tragedies more tragic.

This book revitalized an entire genre for me…by knowing where to find the humor in what was always portrayed as a humorless job in a humorless world. 

By Mick Herron,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Slow Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Now a major TV series starring Gary Oldman*

'To have been lucky enough to play Smiley in one's career; and now go and play Jackson Lamb in Mick Herron's novels - the heir, in a way, to le Carre - is a terrific thing' Gary Oldman

Slough House is the outpost where disgraced spies are banished to see out the rest of their derailed careers. Known as the 'slow horses' these misfits have committed crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal while on duty.

In this drab and mildewed office these highly trained spies don't run…


Book cover of Red Queen

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because Antonia Scott might just be my favorite protagonist of all time.

She’s literally the most intelligent person in the world, with an I.Q. of over 200. She’s plagued by guilt and awkward social skills, but she has more crime-solving abilities than an entire police force. She’s Sherlock Holmes on steroids, with a hyper-intelligent sense of humor!

By Juan Gomez-Jurado,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Red Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an Amazon Prime Original series, Red Queen is the first in Juan Gomez-Jurado's internationally bestselling thriller series, translated by Nick Caistor. Winner of the Cognac Prize 2022 with more than two million copies sold in Spain alone.

Sunday Times - Best Thriller Books of the Year

'A Spanish spin on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo . . . A female Sherlock Holmes' - The Times

You've never met anyone like her . . .

Antonia Scott is special. Very special. She is not a policewoman or a lawyer. She has never wielded a weapon or carried a badge,…


Book cover of Everything Matters!

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and its protagonist, Junior Thibodeau, knows something no one else knows. It’s a secret given to him in the womb: he knows when the world will end.

I was amazed at how Junior, knowing what he knows, searches for and ultimately finds love and some meaning in life. I laughed my way through a story about a world on the brink, and I’ve read it a bunch of times. Whenever I need really intelligent humor, this is the book I pick up! 

By Ron Currie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything Matters! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Startlingly talented . . . he survives the inevitable, apt comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and writes in a tenderly mordant voice all his own." -Janet Maslin, The New York Times

In this novel rich in character, Junior Thibodeau grows up in rural Maine in a time of Atari, baseball cards, pop Catholicism, and cocaine. He also knows something no one else knows-neither his exalted parents, nor his baseball-savant brother, nor the love of his life (she doesn't believe him anyway): The world will end when he is thirty-six. While Junior searches for meaning in a doomed world, his loved ones…


Book cover of Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink

Ronald Bruce St John Author Of Historical Dictionary of Libya

From my list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first visited and worked in Libya in 1977. At the time, only a handful of books on Libya were available in English, and all of them were technical studies related to the petroleum industry. In an effort to better understand the political economy of this beautiful and intriguing state, I began to conduct my own field research. This research led to the publication in 1981 of two articles on Libya under the pseudonym of our two sons because it was dangerous for anyone to publish critical analysis of the Qaddafi regime. I remain fascinated with Libya, and over time, I have published five books and well over 100 articles and reviews on Libya.

Ronald's book list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire

Ronald Bruce St John Why did Ronald love this book?

In September 2012, radical Islamist terrorists attacked the US Diplomatic Mission and the CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador J. Christopher (Chris) Stevens and three other Americans.

Ethan Chorin, who has 17 years of experience in Libya, wisely begins his narrative of the attacks with an exploration of their antecedents in a wide-ranging discussion of political Islam in Qaddafi’s Libya.

He then recounts events on the day of the attack from a privileged viewpoint as he was both in Benghazi and in contact with Ambassador Stevens on that day.

Next, he discusses the multiple investigations and hearings post-Benghazi in which the Republican opposition sought political advantage, turning an uncertain and often unclear response by the Obama administration into a biting, prolonged critique that stretched over the next four years.

Ethan Chorin is a master storyteller who skillfully weaves anecdotes and personal experiences into a narrative that is likely to…

By Ethan Chorin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On September 11, 2012, Al Qaeda proxies attacked and set fire to the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing a US Ambassador and three other Americans.  The attack launched one of the longest and most consequential 'scandals' in US history, only to disappear from public view once its political value was spent. 

Written in a highly engaging narrative style by one of a few Western experts on Libya, and decidely non-partisan, Benghazi!: A New History is the first to provide the full context for an event that divided, incited, and baffled most of America for more than three years, while silently reshaping…


Book cover of Understanding Libya Since Gaddafi

Ronald Bruce St John Author Of Historical Dictionary of Libya

From my list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first visited and worked in Libya in 1977. At the time, only a handful of books on Libya were available in English, and all of them were technical studies related to the petroleum industry. In an effort to better understand the political economy of this beautiful and intriguing state, I began to conduct my own field research. This research led to the publication in 1981 of two articles on Libya under the pseudonym of our two sons because it was dangerous for anyone to publish critical analysis of the Qaddafi regime. I remain fascinated with Libya, and over time, I have published five books and well over 100 articles and reviews on Libya.

Ronald's book list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire

Ronald Bruce St John Why did Ronald love this book?

In Understanding Libya Since Gaddafi, Ulf Laessing sets out to explain why a country with an embarrassment of riches descended from a highly popular revolution into a failed state.

He focuses on the militias that sprang up to overturn the Qaddafi regime but then pursued separate agendas after the fighting ended.

In the process, the parameters of politics became less about democracy and the future direction of the country and more about control of the nation’s resources. Laessing’s focus on the militias makes two very important points that many authors fail to note.

First, the post-Qaddafi conflict is mostly about money, not ideology, and second, it has proved difficult to end the conflict because too many Libyans benefit from the status quo.

By Ulf Laessing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Understanding Libya Since Gaddafi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why has Libya fallen apart since 2011? The world has largely given up trying to understand how the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi has left the country a failed state and a major security headache for Europe. Gaddafi's police state has been replaced by yet another dictatorship, amidst a complex conflict of myriad armed groups, Islamists, tribes, towns and secularists. What happened? One of few foreign journalists to have lived in post-revolution Tripoli, Ulf Laessing has unique insight into the violent nature of post-Gaddafi politics. Confronting threats from media-hostile militias and jihadi kidnappings, in a world where diplomats retreat to…


Book cover of Escape from Aleppo

Alyssa Hollingsworth Author Of The Eleventh Trade

From my list on refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

My sister worked for nine years teaching women in Afghanistan, and the Taliban tried to kill her for it—several times. Back in 2011, I was able to visit her in-country and I fell in love with the kind, brave people and their scarred, stubborn nation. But when my sister was eventually forced to return home, she was not the sister who had left. Refugees told me similar stories; stories about memories that wouldn’t stay quiet even though they were safe. I couldn’t help wondering: How do you rebuild a life after losing everything? My debut book, The Eleventh Trade, became the place I wrestled with that question. 

Alyssa's book list on refugees

Alyssa Hollingsworth Why did Alyssa love this book?

When bombs fall on Nadia’s home, she’s separated from her family in the middle of a war. Over the course of a few short, dangerous days, she has to find a way through her destroyed city to her parents. With startling detail, N.H. Senzai captures the frenzy and peril of Nadia’s situation. 

N.H. Senzai also writes wonderful books about Afghan refugees, like Shooting Kabul, but I personally found Escape from Aleppo her best work so far. I read it all in a gulp, and came out with a deeper understanding of what even a tiny slice of the refugee experience can look like.

By N.H. Senzai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Escape from Aleppo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

"Filled with kindness and hope...Heartbreaking...Necessary." -Booklist (starred review)

Nadia's family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely, "harrowing" (Publishers Weekly) coming-of-age novel from award-winning author N.H. Senzai.

Silver and gold balloons. A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress.

Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents' elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing "Happy Birthday," when her uncle calls from the living room, "Baba, brothers, you need to see this." Reluctantly,…


Book cover of Africans: The History of a Continent

Irina Filatova Author Of The Hidden Thread. Russia and South Africa in the Soviet Era

From my list on to understand what is wrong and right with Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a South African historian of Russian origin, who has studied and taught African history since the late 1960s. For us, the Russians, Africa was then an alluring terra incognita of wild nature, adventure, human suffering, struggles, and tenacity. I have studied how Africa became what it is for 50 years and lived in it for 30. I have learnt a lot about it, but for me it is still a land of human suffering, struggles and tenacity, wild nature, and adventure, and it is still alluring. 

Irina's book list on to understand what is wrong and right with Africa

Irina Filatova Why did Irina love this book?

There are thousands of histories of Africa, but only this one ties together environment, economy, demography, and society. In just 300 pages Iliffe presents Africa’s history from the birth of humankind to the mid-1990s. His history of Africa is the story of hardship and social adjustment in which population numbers are not just the result of variable, though mostly unfavourable, environmental situations, but a tool of survival and progress. This social adjustability, different as it may be from European patterns, allowed the continent’s people to build one of the greatest civilisations on earth. It carried them through natural disasters, invasions, the slave trade, and colonial brutalities, but it struggles with the present pace of demographic expansion – the result of modern medicine and globalisation. 

By John Iliffe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Africans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a vast and all-embracing study of Africa, from the origins of mankind to the present day, John Iliffe refocuses its history on the peopling of an environmentally hostile continent. Africans have been pioneers struggling against disease and nature, but during the last century their inherited culture has interacted with medical progress to produce the most rapid population growth the world has ever seen. This new edition incorporates genetic and linguistic findings, throwing light on early African history and summarises research that has transformed the study of the Atlantic slave trade. It also examines the consequences of a rapidly growing…


Book cover of The Explosive Expert's Wife

Siobhan Fallon Author Of The Confusion of Languages

From my list on war (that are not actually about war).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American writer, Army wife, and occasional expat who has spent nearly a decade of my life living abroad (including Japan, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates), not to mention seven Army moves stateside. I love to read (and write!) books that explore discordance and dislocation, what it is like to be an American living overseas in a time of war, and how these things impact relationships with friends, families, and strangers, and our concept of “home.” My writing is often an exploration of the mundane mixed with the catastrophic. Oh, and I have a weakness for stray cats. Lots of stray cats.

Siobhan's book list on war (that are not actually about war)

Siobhan Fallon Why did Siobhan love this book?

Shara Lessley and I met in Amman, Jordan, during the Arab Spring—both of us American writers whose husbands worked at the embassy. Poetry is not a staple of my reading diet, but Lessley’s poems are small, crystalline stories that perfectly encapsulate what it is like to be an American woman living in the Middle East during a time of potential instability. This volume is slim, but the Jordan that emerges is vast and unforgettable.

By Shara Lessley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Explosive Expert's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In sparse, powerful lines, Shara Lessley recalls an expat's displacement, examines her experience as a mother, and offers intimate witness to the unfolding of the Arab Spring. Veering from the strip malls and situation rooms of Washington to the markets and mines of Amman, Lessley confronts the pressures and pleasures of other cultures, exploring our common humanity with all its aggressions, loves, biases, and contradictions.


Book cover of Red Nile: The Biography of the World's Greatest River

Dan Morrison Author Of The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River

From my list on the Nile and the worlds it created.

Why am I passionate about this?

I traveled the length of the Nile River from source to sea through Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt to write a book that the Daily Beast called "a masterful narrative of investigative reportage, travel writing, and contemporary history," and that the Village Voice named to its ten best books of the year.

Dan's book list on the Nile and the worlds it created

Dan Morrison Why did Dan love this book?

Where I wrote The Black Nile as a white-knuckle current history of the Nile region, British polymath Robert Twigger took the long view to craft an absorbing portrait of the Nile, from Biblical times to the present. Twigger, whose adventures have taken him from the Canadian Rockies to Indonesian hill country to the karate dojo of the Tokyo riot police, has, with Red Nile, written a moving, cinematic masterpiece.

By Robert Twigger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Red Nile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rip-roaring yet intimate biography of the mighty Nile by Robert Twigger, award-winning author of ANGRY WHITE PYJAMAS. 'A tour de force' FINANCIAL TIMES.

So much begins on the banks of the Nile: all religion, all life, all stories, the script we write in, the language we speak, the gods, the legends and the names of stars. This mighty river that flows through a quarter of all Africa has been history's most sustained creator.

In this dazzling, idiosyncratic journey from ancient times to the Arab Spring, award-winning author Robert Twigger weaves a Nile narrative like no other. As he navigates…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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